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December 2012 Archives

U.S. Forest Service And Aging Aircraft

In 2002, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a report criticizing the aerial firefighting capability of the U.S. Forest Service. A review of aviation accident reports from the NTSB shows that six people died in air tanker crashes while on firefighting missions this year. At least 22 have died in such accidents in the last 10 years. According to critics, the issues that caused the NTSB to issue that report in 2002 have not been addressed. The Forest Service continues to use outdated planes that are not ideally suited to battling wildfires.

Childbirth Complications Rose Sharply Over Past Decade

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a study showing a significant rise in the number of emergencies during delivery and severe complications in the days after delivery from 1999 to 2009. Life-threatening complications during delivery rose 75 percent while severe post-delivery complications more than doubled. The lead author of the study referred to the results as a "clarion call" for medical professionals to address maternal complications.

Treatment For Severe Allergic Reactions May Be Lacking

A survey sponsored by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America looked into the treatment recommended by primary care and emergency physicians for anaphylaxis. The survey identified "likely deficiencies" in the knowledge of how to treat the condition and keep it from recurring. Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction that reaches life-threatening severity. It sets on quickly, generally within seconds or minutes of exposure to an allergen. If not treated quickly, it often leads to unconsciousness and even death.

Infant Safety And The Infant Seat Exception

Air travel with small children presents parents with many challenges. For some parents, air travel is made more attractive by a common policy among airlines of not charging for children under the age of 2, if the child sits on a parent's lap. This policy may confuse parents into thinking that their children will be safe in such a position. The National Transportation Safety Board has conducted accident investigations which concluded that children survived because they were seated in an infant seat with proper restraints. Despite the recommendations of the NTSB, the Federal Aviation Administration and airlines have maintained an infant seat exception which allows children less than 2 years of age to fly unrestrained or ride on a parent's lap.

Self Driving Cars And An Accident Free Automobile Industry

While many automobile manufacturers are working on self-driving cars, few have been willing to place a timeline on the release of the new technology. Volvo has now announced that it plans to release an initial batch of self-driving cars in 2014. The Swedish company, long considered a leader in safety technology, indicates that it hopes to release a 'no death' car fleet by 2020. The cars are intended to be impossible to crash though the expedient of loading the car with sensors that will make it impossible to steer the vehicle into other objects.

Hospital Report Card Contains Good/Bad News For Chicago Hospitals

Leapfrog Group is a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that helps employers and other health care purchasers by gathering and disseminating data about the quality of available health care. The group recently released a report card that identifies which hospitals present the most hazardous environments for patients in terms of preventable medical errors and other injuries. The report card assigns facilities a grade, from A through F, to give consumers an easily understood representation of hospital quality.

Government Seeks New Methods In Motorcycle Accident Prevention

Fatalities in car accidents saw a slight decline from 1997 to 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. During that same time period, motorcycle deaths increased by more than 100 percent. Motorcycle fatalities saw another increase in 2010. These numbers are part of what has prompted the Government Accountability Office to ask Congress to grant greater flexibility in using state grant money to help prevent motorcycle deaths.

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